Waze and Headspace Introduce Mindful Driving Playlists

A photo of a person holding a phone with the Waze logo on it

Waze and Headspace want you to learn about mindful driving.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Driving can be maddening. As more and more people come back in the path of the shuttle, popular navigation app Waze partners with a meditation app Free space to help you calm down while you’re on the road. Or at least that’s the point.

New Headspace experience on Waze was designed to help “drivers learn to find more joy and meaning on the road”. It includes a new theme with personalized navigation prompts from a mindfulness teacher and a selection of five moods: Aware, Bright, Hopeful, Happy, and Open. And if you can’t stand seeing your vehicle as a car icon on the app, you can exchange it for a hot air balloon. It may be more calming.

The idea of ​​”conscious driving” is not a new concept. It’s similar to mindful eating and exercise. Mindful driving can help you stay focused and avoid being fascinated by what’s on the radio. It can also help you become more aware of other elements of driving, such as the spacing between cars and whether the person to your right appears to be the lane maker type.

If you want to get a taste of what mindful driving will look like, Waze and Headspace have released a Spotify Playlist which you can listen to to get a feel for the program. I quickly walked through, and it appears to be mostly ambient tracks with Headspace’s guided meditation prompts interspersed in between. If you like what you hear, you can activate Headspace on Waze from your smartphone until November. 1 by pressing the banner in the “My Waze” menu.

A Waze Diagram Photo

Waze will prompt you to “activate experience” in the mobile app once it becomes available.
Picture: Waze

I’m a Californian driver, which means I often get home from my trip requiring a minute before I can engage in life in a neutral way.. I tried playing lo-fi and chill hop playlists to assuage my road angst but I either ended up getting too drowsy to drive or changing the genre entirely for something more forceful to help me reach the same level as other wild drivers on the road.

TThe idea that driving can be as restorative as, say, a mindful yoga session doesn’t seem possible at all to those who have a daily commute in rush hour traffic. Having to physically show up for work every day is already a chore. Add bumper-to-bumper traffic, which is excruciatingly boring, wand you’ll probably want to listen to to a podcast or to some high-powered music to pass the time of a meditative playlist.

This collaboration seems to be how Waze is establishing itself as an all-in-one driving solution while helping Headspace expand its offerings. Corn as someone who travels daily to the San Francisco Bay Area, ranked seventhe in the nation for worst traffic, I can say there is nothing joyful or soothing to be on the road for hours. I’m not sure even Headspace can help me there.


About Shirley A. Tamayo

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